Child Labor | Home

You are here

Child Labor


Cristina Villegas

director, mines to markets

150 million+

children worldwide who engage in labor

Pact’s efforts focus on stemming what the International Labour Organization considers one of the Worst Forms of Child Labor: child labor at mine sites, which exposes kids to dangerous conditions, physical injury, mental stress, disease and disenfranchisement.

Pact has worked for more than a decade to address child labor in mining. Using a systemic, integrated approach that is tailored to each community, we begin by studying factors that are contributing to child labor. Then we work in partnership with communities, governments, the private sector and miners themselves to address these root causes. Along the way, we build the capacity of local institutions, including schools, health and social service agencies and child protection organizations. 

In Colombia, we’re strengthening educational opportunities for youth, applying local health and safety standards, bolstering child protection policies, helping families to increase their income, and working to formalize the small-scale mining sector.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, we’re raising awareness about the dangers of child labor, increasing families’ economic stability and improving enforcement of child labor bans. Our efforts have reduced child labor at mine sites where we work by more than 90 percent.

And in countries across Africa and Asia, we’re helping parents and caregivers boost their income – a main driver in keeping children in school and out of the labor force.

Learn more about our work with mining communities here

Stories and Highlights

Child labor infographic

Global approaches to tackling one of the worst forms of child labor

June 11, 2021
Child labor is an insidious problem that robs children of their childhood. For children engaged in hazardous work, it endangers their physical and mental health and...
Sewing apprentices cut fabric to make Covid-19 face masks. (Photo: Pact)

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, meet three young people leaving child mining behind

August 10, 2020
Child labor in mining has long been categorized as one of the worst forms of child labor by the International Labour Organization. It is arduous work that exposes children to significant health and...
Somos Tesoro hosts a Facebook Live event for youth. (Photo: Pact)

During Covid-19, Pact and partners continue the fight against child mining in Colombia

June 10, 2020
At home, Alejandro, a 15-year-old boy in rural Colombia, has access to only one smart phone: his father’s. After Covid-19 began, Alejandro’s school closed and teachers began holding classes online...

The Pilares project

October 10, 2019
In Colombia's Bajo Cauca and South Bolivar regions, where gold mining is a critical livelihood, Pact leads the Pilares project in partnership with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) to improve...

Kits for kids: Keeping children in the classroom and out of mines in DRC

August 19, 2019
On a sunny day in April, 210 students and their parents stood in anticipation outside a school in Cité Musonoie, a mining town located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) copper-cobalt mining...

New Pact-USAID project in DRC will stem child labor, violence and other illegal activity at mine sites

July 26, 2019
Pact has received a new award from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help counter illegal activities including child labor, violence and other human abuses in the...

Somos Tesoro in Colombia: We are Treasure

June 12, 2019
In Colombia, Pact's Somos Tesoro project is working to end child labor in gold and coal mining and improve health and safety conditions. Somos Tesoro means "We are Treasure." Because children are...

In her own words: A former child miner in DRC makes a new start

May 28, 2019
Since 2003, Pact has worked to improve the lives of artisanal and small-scale miners through its Mines to Markets program. This includes efforts to end child labor in mining, from Colombia to the...
Men and women hard at work at a mine site in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To stem child labor in mining, it takes a village

August 30, 2018
When was the last time you thought about the minerals inside your cell phone or laptop? Where did they come from? Who mined them?

Pact's new documentary film reveals progress in the fight against child labor in Democratic Republic of the Congo

June 12, 2018
On June 12, World Day Against Child Labor, Pact, an international development organization, debuted its first short documentary film revealing on-the-ground evidence of progress in the fight against...